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  • riveted hulls

    Yesterday I awoke in a motel in Ventura, then drove to Phoenix. I decided to have breakfast in Long Beach, the largest port facility on the west coast, and probably in the top five worldwide. From the freeways and the long-span suspension bridge I got a glimpse hundreds of immense container cranes. I will try to explore more of this place next time I cross LA.

    The RMS Queen Mary (launched in 1936) is an impressive sight, turned into a Long Beach hotel now. It is gutted of its boilers and engines, so I did not take the time to take the tour. I don't think it even floats!

    Here you can see the riveted hull. I suspect this might have been one of the last big ships to use rivets. Anybody know when that type of construction was abandoned?


    Last edited by aostling; 11-21-2009, 08:22 PM.
    Allan Ostling

    Phoenix, Arizona

  • #2
    I think possibly later........years ago I worked with a Dutch machinist/welder and he said they used to drop white hot rivets down the noobs coveralls for initiation in the shipyards........and the dance that ensued.......that must have been just b4 WW2........
    Opportunity knocks once, temptation leans on the doorbell.....

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    • #3
      They were still riveting some stuff around ww2 time, theres a couple of ww2 ammo barges down the river from us, now live aboards, and they are riveted.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm thinking that welding was increasingly used on ships during WWII in an effort decrease construction times. Welding and riveting co existed for some time with the usual debate over which method was superior.

        I recall stories that because there were a lot of unknowns in large scale welding at that stage, welded Liberty boats would sometimes break in half at launch or shortly after.

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        • #5
          Bob,
          My father worked at a ship yard in North Vancouver B.C. dureing the war. I remember him telling me the welders were getting paid by the ammount of distance they welded per shift. He also told me he saw at numerous times welders laying brand new welding rods in the v grooved plate and laying a bead right on top of this to lessen the time required to weld these areas. As far as I know my Dad never lied to me and see no reason for him to lie about this, So this may have something to do with those ships breaking in half.

          Pete

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          • #6
            Air Horns (Steam?)

            We sold Sullair rotary compressors and mechanical packages for awhile, for a guy named George Sellers. Hence the name of his operation in Bakersfield---- SELLAIR.

            We got the call for a temporary compressed air supply for a final sounding of the horns on the Queen, during a dedication ceremony in Long Beach. Days before the ceremony, a 40 horsepower machine was lifted up, over and into the first stack and plumbed into the horns. On command, the horns were operated for the last time, by George, who had earlier climbed inside the funnel and waited. Yeah, he had ear plugs.

            G

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            • #7
              I have an old weldor'sa handbook that mentions all welded hulls being around in the 30's on some of the newer Great lakes ore haulers.I didn't think they went back much further than that.

              I did find this via the net though-

              Rivets and Welding
              By the early 1900's, ship plates were still riveted together. A rivet is a short round metal connection used to fasten two or moremembers together by clinching after being heated red hot. The ship is given its shape by a series of symmetrically curved ribs or frames that run transversely and that are fastened to the keel. The skin of the vessel is mounted outside the frame. In steel vessels the skin consists of a number of metal plates riveted or welded to the frame.

              At the end of WWI a push for faster construction times drove shipbuilders toward using substantially welded ship plates, but as the war stopped, the money for development dried up.

              Brocklebank is one of the oldest firms in the world of merchant shipping, dating back to 1801. The firm experimented with motor ships including, for a short time, the first all-welded vessel, the small merchant coaster Fullagar (150 ft. long) of 1920. Cammell Laird, one of the most famous names in British shipbuilding during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, built the first all-welded ship, the Fullagar.

              At the start of WWII, the push came on to rapidly produce ships for the merchant marine fleet to supply the war effort, and welding technology was again pushed. The rapid and massive scale-up required by the war meant that unskilled laborers and inadequate welding practice were used. This method of construction reduced the amount of steel weight by 200 tons per vessel. Modern steel ocean-going ships owe much of their strength to the welding methods which bind their parts firmly together.
              I just need one more tool,just one!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by uncle pete
                Bob,
                My father worked at a ship yard in North Vancouver B.C. dureing the war. I remember him telling me the welders were getting paid by the ammount of distance they welded per shift. He also told me he saw at numerous times welders laying brand new welding rods in the v grooved plate and laying a bead right on top of this to lessen the time required to weld these areas. As far as I know my Dad never lied to me and see no reason for him to lie about this, So this may have something to do with those ships breaking in half.

                Pete

                I heard something similar about the Liberty Ships, probably on Modern Marvels. They also mentioned the ships breaking, and how the problem was fixed.


                Andy

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by murph64
                  I heard something similar about the Liberty Ships, probably on Modern Marvels. They also mentioned the ships breaking, and how the problem was fixed.


                  Andy
                  Have a friend (lifelong, brother from another mother type friend, a couple years younger than me, and I've 'known' him since we were a bump in our mommy's bellies) who showed me a few ways that some of the welders he worked with 'short-cutted' the processes, some were downright scary considering that the finished product -looked- absolutely perfect

                  I worked for a company that shortened or stretched truck frames for a while, we'd take truck frames and stretch them out 10-15 feet to mount a dump body or something on them. caught one of the 'pro's' laying in filler of scrap etc in the weld area. Gave him ****, he gave me **** saying it was perfectly fine, no loss of strength etc. Asked him if he would be comfortable with his wife and kids driving alongside of a truck welded that way. after that, his welds were the greatest that shop turned out.

                  Think a lot of shortcuts are taken by people with no idea of who or what will be affected by their shortcuts.


                  I'm not perfect, I take shortcuts. disable ABS on my off-road trucks, (can't slip a corner if the brakes aren't controlled by you) and don't really give a crap if the rear brakes work at all, >>BUT<< I have a manual trans, and know that when I am off-road, and the t-case is locked into 4x4, front brakes alone will stop the rear axle too.

                  ken.

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                  • #10
                    Bare wire welding

                    Bare wire welding, that is welding with a bare iron rod was first introduced during WW1. The voltage was high and it was considered a dangerous operation. The shipyards also found during WW1 that laying a pine board along side the weld made the weld better quality. The first lime and fabric wrapped rods didn't show up until a few years after WW1 and was called barberpole due to the red and white fabric wound in a spiral to hold the lime in place on the rod.

                    The liberty ship breakage was identified as a problem with a high brittle fracture transition temperature in some of the steel plate produced. Initially the testing to determine brittle fracture properties of steel used a drop weight test where a 1000 pound weight was dropped onto a steel test coupon. Lather the testing was revised to become the charpy impact test, which is still used. One in three liberty ships made in Portland, Or broke going out over the Columbia river bar during WW2. At the time, Portland OR was launching between 1 and 3 liberty ships per day. Initially the navy thought the sinkings were a result of sabotage, but further investigation and test revealed the brittle fracture transition temperature and resulted in chemistry and processing controls on steel ship plate.

                    One reason rivetted hulls hung around as long as they did was that the rivetting of small plates left lots of lead and glycerine sealed lap joints that would stop cracks. The welded ships would form a crack that would keep going and eventually run all the way around the hull.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by uncle pete
                      Bob,
                      My father worked at a ship yard in North Vancouver B.C. dureing the war. I remember him telling me the welders were getting paid by the ammount of distance they welded per shift. He also told me he saw at numerous times welders laying brand new welding rods in the v grooved plate and laying a bead right on top of this to lessen the time required to weld these areas. As far as I know my Dad never lied to me and see no reason for him to lie about this, So this may have something to do with those ships breaking in half.

                      Pete
                      Not wanting to get away from ships, but I can recall this practice coming to light on some important parts of the UK's Calder Hall nuclear power station when it was being built mid 50s. On a nuclear power station FFS!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The previous posts were bang on, the advent of electric arc welding saw an end to the riveted ship, however there was a drawback, a riveted ship was like an airoplane in many respects; a collection of parts flying in formation held together with string.
                        A ship was a collection of steel plates heading in the same general direction held together by rivets
                        the new welded construction [see kaiser shipyards/liberty ships/cracks] was monolithic, all in one peice, then theres the problem of cracks [aptly named from the noise they make when propagating], once they start and reach a critical length theres enough energy in the tip to take the crack supersonic as it propagates along a stress concentration, the best way to 'stop' a crack is to drill a hole at its tip, this dissipates the energy
                        http://www.tech.plym.ac.uk/sme/inter...iffTheory1.htm
                        riveted hulls did this naturally with rivet holes, there wernt any on a welded hull, bang the ship cracked in two.
                        later on crack arrestors were fitted, deck holes were given rounded corners and the chemistry of the steel altered to remove the tendancy to brittle failure
                        there are yards over here that rivet still, on gantry booms where an extension is required its riveted and making crack arrestor plates for new ships
                        mark

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                        • #13
                          I'm here to tell you that riveet are damn expensive. By the time you lay out and punch holes, alighn the part, ream and fit etc, heat and rivet, then if it' to be presure tight caulk all aroud every eam and rivet, a welder has sewn together about triple the structure.

                          Also ever seen battle damage photos of riveted structures? The riveted joints come unzipped and fly like bullets. Rivets are cool but not in combat.

                          Riveted tructures are also heavier by the weight of the rivets and laps. That can amount to quite a percentage in a complex shaped assembly. If it was posible to butt weld airframe skin together you can bet the airplane maker would ure as hell to it. Rivet have teir place but snce the perfection of electric aarc welding that technology has been superceded.

                          The Tacoma Narrows Bridge only 30 miles away is a very handsome Art Deco structure of riveted teel plates. The designer made use of the rivets and doublers to emphasze the form and function of the dtowers both in appearance and function. If it was welded it would look simply plain. Another bridge was built right next to it and te acrhitect tried to make i compliment the old bridge but failed utterly. Poured concrete cannot ever be riveted steel.

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                          • #14
                            My crust is mainly earned repairing & maintaining UK canal boats, often boats which were built for cargo in the 1890s to 1940s and kept going well beyond their design life. By the 1930s although main construction was rivetting, little bits of welding were starting to appear where it made awkward shapes a bit easier.
                            Vessels that I've seen from the 1940s (not neccessarily canal boats) often employed a mix of rivetting and welding, some of the plate seams might be welded while the framing was rivetted. Rivetting seems to have been kept for vertical seams longer than for horizontals. How much that was to do with the higher skills needed for vertical welding, and how much to do with not trusting the welds for the seams subjected to high hogging & sheer stresses I don't know.
                            I do some rivetting myself, there are cases when repairing a rivetted hull that it makes more sense, especially when fastening new plates to frames which were intended for rivets. Sometimes the customer wants it done that way for aesthetic reasons. There are a couple of small specialist yards on the UK canals which will undertake major rivetted rebuilds.
                            The very last freight Narrow Boats built, in 1959/60, look at first sight to be all welded but when I did some repairs on one a few years ago I found that some of the platework had actually been 'tacked' with rivets before welding!
                            I wonder whether actually it had been bolted rather than rivetted, then rivets fitted after the welding as a secure way to fill the bolt holes, I don't know but that seems likely.
                            My father was involved in the design of large power transformers, and he was looking into building them into Aluminium tanks in place of the usual steel (we're talking about 200 ton units here!). He arranged a visit to Harland & Wolff in Belfast when they were building the liner Canberra in circa 1960, because it employed a lot of welded aluminium in the superstructure & he wanted to learn more about large welded aluminium structures. He took me along for the ride (aged about 11 I suppose), my recollection is that the place was full of the sound of rivetting then, but I may be wrong. The ship was presumably mainly welded.

                            Tim
                            Last edited by Timleech; 11-22-2009, 06:55 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Just a guess here but I'm thinking MagnaFlux and X-ray ability paid a large part in the full move to welding. After all, the state of welding could not be proven till it could really be examined.
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                              Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

                              It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

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